Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wired Differently: Quizbot # 3

Quizbot is a weekly quiz initiated by yours truly in an attempt to reach far out in everyone's quest for Curiosity. Besides, Quizzing is one of my hobbies and thanks to SEQC, now one of my passions.

Quizbot # 2 was more of a success than Quizbot # 1. Here, we continue with the Quizzing series with Quizbot # 3.

Set # 3

1. Space always amused this Inventor, who is also an architect. He is best known for amusing millions of people with his invention. Identify him.

2. Name this type if clothing, which also shares its name with an HTC cell phone. You would also connect this with a series of riots in the WW 2 era. Name.

3. Name this band, which in 2000, released an album which contained two colours in its title.

4. Name this geologist, who in his milestone book popularized the concept of dynamic forces shaping the earth. His book was so popular that Charles Darwin carried a copy along with him in his voyage.

5. In the end, as usual, the sitter. What does the word 'BASE' stand for in BASE Jumping?

Please post your answers in the comments section below.

Quizbot # 2 Answers and Scores:

The Second Set of Quizbot saw 14 responses, out of which 13 are accepted as answers. The Answes below:

1. Many got this one. It is Atari. (11/13 got it correct)
2. The great man is Max Planck, best known for his introduction of the 'Quantum.' (7/13 got it correct)
3. The city is none other than Casablanca! (6/13 got it correct)
4. Yes, the symbol is Radura. I've accepted a few responses where the purpose is mentioned. (11/13 got it correct)
5. Wanna be a Cyborg? (10/13 got it correct)

And now for the Scores:
1. Mangesh Sonawane - 5 (That's it, my friend!)
2. Aditthya - 4 (Great!)
3. Swapnil - 4 (Awsum!)
4. Shreehari - 4 (Great!)
5. Thiru - 3
6. Satya - 2
7. Dhruv Sharma - 2
8. Rajat Joshi - 1
9. Raghav - 4 (Rock On!)
10. Kapinjal - 5 (Waytago!)
11. PHS Quizzing Log (Akash) - 5 (Waytago!)
12. Vinayak - 4 (Awsum!)
13. Jeevan - 3

Link to the previous Set: Quizbot Set # 2

Thanks for the response, and Keep Quizzing!


Incredible India - This Happens Only in India

"This Happens Only In India"

A country of a billion, no wonder we say, "Incredible India." Well, the only distinction we don't make is that in what sense we take this phrase. On one hand, there is the beauty of the picturesque land, there are the national treasures of India and also the cultural diversity.

Well, on the 'funny-side-up', due to the enormous diversity of people, we get to see the 'This Happens Only In India' side of India. The Times of India has captured this funny side with campaigns like 'A Day In The Life of India' and 'Sign of the Times.' On that note, and with the same objective, here are a score of those 'viral' pics that showcase the funnier side of India:

1. Let's go To School!

With schools starting new sessions, this is a good pic to start on.

2. Currency 'Collection'

I DO NOT mean any offence to our National Hero.

3. Babies, this is for You! (Or is it?)

Don't go behind this truck!

4. The InFINITE Staircase

I would NOT want the architect of this 'Marvel' to design my house. Do I need to say "Mind Your Head?"

5. The 'Gyani' Babe

If this goes on, India will soon race South Korea in terms of Mobile Phones per person!

6. Just Do It

The title says it all! :P

7. Where there is NO Water, there's... Coca Cola!

Can someone teach this Coke guys Advertising??? In such a place where there's no water to drink, they expect people to drink Coke? Incredible India!

8. Lullaby...

Have a Sound sleep.... :D. Shush! Don't diturb 'em by Laughing! Hahaha!

9. To Drive, Or Not To Drive?

Don't go there, fellas!

10. No Advocate to Advocate
Read this as: Vakil No One. Vakil translates to Advocate.

11. Idly Outsourced

Yeech! I no eating Italy with Sambar! For all those non-Indian, Idly is a popular Indian dish, here it is misspelled as Italy.

12. Pass it on, Mate!

Passing the Parcel, Train Style!

13. Be Trendy

A Trendy Bhelwala (Bhel is a popular fast food), but does he know his Facebook?

14. Mighty Expectations...

Wow! Read it double time!

15. Somebody Call That Guy!

and Find out what kind of institute he's operating!!! xD

16. The Wormhole Dustbin

Empty your wHOLE garbage here... :P. Do Remember, what goes in this, comes out the other end!

17. What To Do, What NOT To Do!

The Government must be crazy!

18. A Jack in the Box

That there, seems to be a GOLD MINE! :P

19. Child Bear

Does he mean, 'Chilled Beer?' Whatever, you are NOT gonna get that in India! :D

20. The Truth at Last

The Manager must be a righteous person! Yes, Truth Always Wins!

That's all from Incredible India, for now. As Above, So Below!

PS: If you would like a Sequel to this post, With 20 more signs, Please do comment so below.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Poetic Thoughts # 2 - Science Reigns Supreme

The 'Poetic Thought' below describes a common, layman making friends with a sophisticated 'Theoretical Physicist'. The Layman first views science as something incomprehensible (Which, I'm sure, we all have done!) and weird. He describes his friendship with the Physicist and then hints about something big. Then comes the great man's big discovery, a Theory of Everything (something Einstein had been working on). Only then does the Layman understand what science means to the world, and makes a call. Read on!

Glad you came to
Hear a Story
Of somebody

This great man
Whom I met in my Garden
He used Scientific jargon,
Used to blabber sumthin' 'bout Argon,
I didn't care.

In the neighborhood he'd come to stay,
As I watched him through my window everyday.
Then one day he called me in,
I was greeted by the smell of paper within.
His house was a laboratory,
Papers, Books a lot of Mystery.
He told me he had no body,
He was so de-jec-ted.

Then I asked him his objective,
But his answer was not definitive.
A theoretician, he called himself,
Elegantly dressed from top to bottom
Often inquired, "Do people care whats inside an Atom?"

He said he worked,
He put his mind.
All for the benefit of Mankind.

"All for Science" was his motto,
But within himself he wondered,
How far can this all go.

He was working on something,
Something big,
He always protected,
He admitted, he was always,
But his thoughts reflected,
The perfect man he was.

He often said amalgamation,
Was the only solution
He was working on TOE (A theory of Everything)
Incorporating Relativity and String Theory
He said, that was the Key
To understanding the physical world.

Unification, he said, is my prime motivation,
And reaching it is jubilation.
But in the end he did reach there,
To me this was all obscure, I didn't care.

Then one day - Front Page Headlines
The man was there,
This time, Yes, I did care.
By evening he was everywhere,
TV, Papers and the internet was taken by rage.

Only then did I comprehend,
The enormity of his work,
What had been an obscurity,
Took better of my curiosity.

If his work meant,
Faster Computers, Cell Phones and Better Technology.
Then it means a lot to the community.

What was every scientist's dream,
The 'icing' on the Cream,
Was realised that day.
Till we Earthlings wait for that moment,
Let Science reign supreme.

Let Science reign supreme.

(Currently, physicists are working on a 'Theory of Everything'. Do remember that as the work done in Quantum Theory and Relativity gave us spinoffs like the Laser, TVs, Cell Phones, Computers and in modern sense, Technology. Similar spinoffs are likely if a TOE is formulated)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wired Differently: Quizbot # 2

Quizbot is a weekly quiz initiated by yours truly in an attempt to reach far out in everyone's quest for Curiosity. Besides, Quizzing is one of my hobbies and thanks to SEQC, now one of my passions.

After a successful Quizbot # 1 (Look for answers and scores below), I present to you Quizbot # 2.

Set # 2

1. The Japanese word for 'a Warning', used in a popular game is also the name of a video game company, whose logo is given below. Give me the word.

2. A Reluctant Revolutionary, he ushered in a revolution in the early 1900s. Name him.

3. The local name of the city is shared by a village in western central Yemen. The city is in a country which is currently in news due to protests. The city is referred to in a 1942 movie as well. Name it. Logo given below.

4. This globally used symbol (pictured below) is green and depicts a plant, seated inside a circle. The symbol indicates that a food product is free of something, which shot into global headlines 3 months ago. Name the symbol.

5. The sitter - Give me the term used in Sci-Fi for a being with a fusion of biological (natural) and artificial parts.

Please post your answers in the comments section below.

Quizbot # 1 Answers and Scores:

The first set of Quizbot saw a reasonable response, with 10 comments, and 9 of them being answers. The answers below:

1. The chap in question is Edward Witten. (4/9 got it correct)
2. The webcomic is Abstruse Goose. (Only 1/9 got it correct, one of the good guesses was Drunk Duck)
3. The historian is William Dalrymple. (6/9 got it correct)
4. The band is Ace of Base. (4/9 got it correct)
5. The answer is, obviuosly Geronimo. (Yes, the official name was Neptune Spear, but I was looking for Geronimo, (8/9 got it correct).


1. Tai Kamiya: 3
2. Anonymous: 0
3. Nanjundeshwara: 1
4. Mangesh: 5 (Waytago!)
5. Jeevan: 2
6. Amit: 3
7. PHS Quizzing Log: 3
8. Girish: 4 (Awesome!)
9. Satya: 2

Link to the Previous Set: Quizbot Set # 1

Thanks for the response, and wish you good quizzing.


Short Stories # 3: Thief Ethics

A downtrodden father, having just lost his family in a car accident, decided to go the wrong way down in life. Soon, in a span of 3 months, he committed 4 big heists, and was the 'wanted' man in town. He was enjoying this new way of life, but he often wondered the consequences that had led to him walking down that path.

Another new moon night, the thief set out on his next 'mission', just outskirts in the countryside, was a palatial mansion belonging to a bureaucrat, who lived abroad. He knew that South of the mansion, was a room in which the rich man kept his safe. He even obtained plans of the room. Having mastered the technique of opening safes, which requires putting the ear to the lock, and trying different combinations, and 'hearing' for a 'click' sound, he was quite sure of pulling it off.

Armed with ropes, hooks and a knapsack, the bad man managed to make it into the room. But what his plans didn't tell him was that there was someone in the room, a little kid sleeping on the bed.

Quietly tiptoeing in, the lights suddenly turned on and the child woke up. To the thief's amazement, the child near-perfectly resembled his long-gone son!

The child, his eyes drooling, shouted, "Dad!"

The man, startled, asked the child if he was really his son.

"Yes, Dad. I survived the horrible crash. Fortunately, the caretaker of this place spotted me and brought me here. I thought that everyone had perished, including you, and so I had nowhere to go. But what in the world are you doing here."

The Dad, not knowing what to say told him that he had come to take his son back. After that day, the dad had a heartwarming change, and decided to donate all his 'earnings' to a charity.

Some Thief Ethics. Thieves are made only because of circumstances.

PS. Like all stories, this one too had a happy ending. The dad went on to become a leading counseller and helped dozens of depressed people change their way of living.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's In A Birthday?

An apt post on the day I turn 14.........

Its an everyday habit. You open up your Facebook page, glance to the newsfeed and then glance to the left! OMG! My friend has a birthday! And you post "Happy Birthday" or a variation of it (which nowadays ranges from hapi b'day to haaappiieeeeee buddddayyy!).

What's In A Birthday? Well, tomorrow (by the time this post's online, it'll be today) is my 14th Birthday, (Yay!), and NOT being the-kid-who celebrates-birthdays-cutting-cake-blowing candles-calling friends (woah!), I wondered, "What's In A Birthday"?

(Pre) Midnight inspiration struck! After browsing through a dozen pages, I thought of penning (digitalizing) it down into a blogpost. Well, read on!

Well, I declare Birthdays an ASTRONOMICAL (not astrological) phenomenon. The Earth revolves, and so do we, and after completing the looong (about 300 million km) journey around our Sun, we complete a full ellipse, right in time to celebrate our next birthday. Due to some technical stuff, we are not at the same on our birthday as we were the last year. In simple words, one more year has passed since you were born.

What's so great in that? Why did Birthday Parties start? Quoting a website, "The tradition of birthday parties started in Europe, due to a fear of evil spirits being particularly attracted to people on their birthdays. To protect them from harm, friends and family would to come be with the birthday person and bring good thoughts and wishes. This is how birthday parties began." Gradually as people started getting more socialized, new party 'gimmicks' such as Cakes, Balloons, Candles, Party Hats, Party Games, Return Gifts, Party Spray (so long till infinity) made their appearance. Recently, a haywire facebook b'day party attracted 20000 UNWANTED guests!!!

There IS a helluva going around this 'Birthday' phenomenon. A birthday has religious, legal and time related aspects as well, not to mention a brood of mathematicians mulling around a 'Birthday Paradox.' Let me introduce you to all that below!

Ah! Wondered about 'Leap' years? A Leap Year occurs once every four years. Think of those people born on 29th February on a Leap year! Famous ones include Morarji Desai (former Indian PM) and Pope Paul III. They face a Paradox! What do they do? Celebrate their special day once every four years? Or celebrate it on 28th Feb or 1st March? Legally, I guess its your free will to decide! By the way, these bunch of people are branded "Leap Year Babies."

Lewis Carroll, (creator of Alice and Wonderland), coined a neologism (a phrase not used commonly) in his book 'Through the Looking Glass'. Called an Unbirthday, it is an event that can be celebrated on any day that is not the person's birthday! (Most probably, its your unbirthday today!)

Then there is the Half Birthday, which occurs approximately six months before or after the person's real birthday. This can be quite useful in schools, especially when a kid wants his birthday to be celebrated in front of the whole school, but cannot do so because his birthday falls in the holidays! Then there is a Decimal Birthday, celebrated according to base ten, commemorating 100 or 1000 days after you were born!

Then you have the traditional birthday song, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, "The Most Recognised Song in the English Language." "Happy Birthday to You" "Tra La La La La La"....Well! The value of this song is based at $5 million!!! The song (performed by the Chipmunks) below:

Thanks for reading so far! Glad you made through all the stuff above! Given 365/366 days in a year, another question pops up into your minds! What is the most common birthday around? Well, in USA, the most common birthday is October 5. In the rest of the world, generally the period between September 15 to October 15 is likely to have more birthdays. Quotes a website, "Any birthday has a theory: To be born in this period, a baby would most likely have been conceived on New Year's Eve."

Well, given the same fact above, I ask a question, "What is the probability that given a random group of people, some pair of them will have the same birthday?" Well, according to the popular Pigeonhole Principle, if you get in 367 people there is a 100% chance that you will come across a pair sharing their birthdate.

But, if mathematical probability holds then, there is a 99% chance that you will find a same-birthday pair if you have a group of 57 people. There is 50% chance when there are 23 people and a 90% chance when you have 41 people in the group.

Well, With a mixture of thoughts in my head, a prospect of having a Facebook wall full of Happy Birthday posts and mumbing "Happy Birthday To You" in my mind, I sign off.